In the late 1990’s a psychotherapeutic intervention was developed and formalised into the Wait, Watch and Wonder™ (WWW) program. Essentially it was about observing and enabling relationships between children and parents; in which the parent observed behaviours then followed the baby/child’s lead.
It involves a structured program, but the philosophical fundamentals can apply to us all. WATCH – by watching a baby or child we can learn so much, but if we watch then WAIT to see what the baby or child is doing, then WONDER about what is happening for that baby or child. What is happening in that inner world, the feelings, thoughts and needs that is expressed in the baby or child’s actions? This is a great way to help tired, fatigued and delirious parents separate what feelings belong to the baby or child and what belong to the parent.
When your baby or child is in that awake and content moment, just lie down on the floor with him or her, and let them ‘lead’ the conversation. If the baby or child reaches out to you, watch, wait a moment, and then gently reach back. If they ‘coo’ or vocalise to you, watch, wait a moment and wonder why, then reciprocate with a gentle sound similar to what they have made.
It is amazing watching parents learn from their babies and children by simply watching behaviours, waiting a moment and wondering what is happening for the baby or child at that very moment. In the haze of sleeplessness it is often difficult to take time to ‘be with’ the baby or child, so this is a simple but often powerful way to spend a moment ‘with’ each other.
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There are some common themes when it comes to managing our children’s sleep. And although every baby and toddler is an individual, parents tend to share similar responses to sleeping problems. One is hoping that things will get better with time, the other is finding it difficult to ask for help.